Language in trouble: Warnings at potential collision moments in forklift driving

Maurice Nevile, Johannes Wagner

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    We examine the language and multimodal character of ’warnings’ in moments of potential ‘trouble’ in tasks for mobile collaborative work. The participants are forklift truck drivers moving objects from one place to another at a training and certification site (a simulated warehouse scene). Our data are approx. 85 hours of recordings, and feature multiple camera views (truck mounted, floor, bird’s eye). We focus on warnings expressed to other drivers in situations when collisions might occur as trucks move around the shared shelf/floorspace. Through warnings, drivers identify, orient and respond to such moments: a driver warns by announcing his/her presence, movement, or activity, to another driver who then responds. We analyse warnings’ form and occurrence in the order and progress of routine task performance, to consider language as part of multimodal conduct, and relative to the physical surround (e.g. change in driving direction, speed, location). Forklift truck collisions can range from very minor to potentially dangerous, so warnings can constitute a form of crisis communication (De Rycker & Mohd Don 2013). We are interested generally in understanding language for the social practices by which people locally organize and accomplish together their activities, moment-to-moment in naturally occurring contexts, and especially when mobile and coordinating their mobility with others (see e.g. Nevile 2004; Haddington et al. 2012; Haddington et al. 2013). References De Rycker, A, & Mohd Don, Z. (eds) 2013. Discourse and Crisis: Critical Perspectives. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Haddington, P., Keisanen, T. & Nevile, M. (eds) 2012. Meaning in Motion: Interaction in Cars. Special Issue for Semiotica, 191, 1/4. Haddington, P., Mondada, L., Nevile, M. (eds) 2013. Interaction and Mobility: Language and the Body in Motion. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter Nevile, 2004. Beyond the Black Box: Talk-in-Interaction in the Airline Cockpit. Series: Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication1st International Conference on Sociolinguistics : Insights from Superdiversity, Complexity and Multimodality
    EditorsAlexandra Fodor, Tamás Eitler
    Number of pages1
    Place of PublicationBudapest
    PublisherDe Gruyter
    Publication dateSept 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
    Event1st International Conference on Sociolinguistics - Budapest, Hungary
    Duration: 1. Sept 20163. Sept 2016


    Conference1st International Conference on Sociolinguistics
    Internet address


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